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Rescue crews work to reach a family that was stranded by the North St. Vrain Creek on Sunday. (Photo courtesy Andy Amalfitano)
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Boulder County rescue crews rescued a family after one of its members was swept downstream and the rest were stranded by high waters during a hike outside Lyons.

According to a release, five family members from Arizona and Kansas were hiking on the Coulson Gulch Trail northwest of Lyons on Sunday afternoon when they reached the North St. Vrain Creek.

The map showed the trail crossing to the south side of the creek, and a woman tried to make her way across, but was swept away by the water, which was running high due to spring runoff.

The woman was swept over three sets of waterfalls but was able to grab a log and climb out of the river on the south creek bank. A juvenile female was able to cross the river as well, but when the rest of the family realized they could not cross they activated an SOS feature on their GPS device, which alerted rescuers at  3:21 p.m. Sunday.

Emergency crews completed a highline rescue, in which rescuers crossed the creek on a rope and put the stranded hikers in rescue harnesses, helmets and flotation devices before pulling them back across the creek one at a time.

Rescue workers were also stationed downstream in case one of the hikers went into the creek, but the rescue was completed after about six hours.

“This is a good reminder that during spring runoff rivers and creeks can be swift moving and you should not attempt to cross them if they are running high,” the sheriff’s office wrote in a release. “It only takes 6 inches of moving water to knock an adult off their feet. The family, thankfully, had a handheld GPS device with an SOS feature, which allowed first responders to quickly pinpoint their location.”

The Boulder County Sheriff’s Office, Rocky Mountain Rescue Group, Boulder Emergency Squad, Lyons Fire Protection District, Button Rock Reservoir Ranger and American Medical Response all responded to the call.

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